The Evil Within is True to the Genre
Survival Horror Games have been on the rise as of late. Bethesda Softworks has published another winner developed by Tango Gameworks gaining one more solid addition to their 2014 lineup. Unfortunately, much like Wolfenstein: The New Order, The Evil Within will turn into another sleeper hit due to its release date and won’t receive the attention that it deserves. Survival Horror legend Shinji Makami is the director on this project and has created the best survival horror game so far this year, retaining his masterful vision for the genre that he helped create.
Shinji Mikami uses a combination of old and new elements to create a satisfyingly familiar yet up-to-date horror experience. The majority of the game takes place in a variety of stereotypical creepy locations i.e. graveyards, sewers, abandoned asylums, and a haunted mansion. While these are not the most original locations for a survival horror game they are very effective settings for inducing suspense and fear. Staying true to the original Resident Evil games of the past, ammo is very limited in The Evil Within. The task of maintaining your health bar and conserving ammo only adds to the suspense and puts the survival back in the modern horror game genre. The camera is an over-the-shoulder angle making it almost impossible to watch your back giving you a constant paranoia about being attacked from behind. Mikami has not lost his touch since Resident Evil 4, recreating a truly intense atmosphere and keeping you on the edge of your seat.
The gameplay is also traditional to the genre and doesn’t allow it to turn into a run-n-gun zombie game because of the limited ammo. Also, very unique to the genre is the protagonist’s use of stealth. This allows for one-shot kills and creating distractions to draw monsters into traps and clear escape routes. This stealth system also takes away from the repetition when it comes to killing zombies and helps create more strategic ways of accumulating kills and running for your life.
At times this game can get quite challenging with invisible traps and several overpowered bosses that will kill you instantly. While this gets frustrating at times it reminds me of a time when games were more challenging and unforgiving. However, there are many instances in the game it seems as if certain situations are impossible or you will be killed instantly by some unforeseen foe. This wouldn’t be as bad if it didn’t force you to restart chapters within the game with full CGI introductions after dying. There is a manual save system that works well, but the auto-save and checkpoint system seems very random and starts you much farther back then deserved for all your effort spent, making me wonder why it was added in the first place.
The Evil Within retains all of the old elements of the genre making them feel new again creating one of the best survival horror games since Dead Space 2. This game is not just intense, it is scary! There are certain times that I found myself having to pause the game or almost drop my controller after a certain grotesquely mutated enemy would appear out of thin air. This game should not be overlooked this holiday season.
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